Invertebrate species inventories in protected area management: are they useful?

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Invertebrate species inventories in protected area management: are they useful?
Invertebrate species inventories in protected area management: are they useful?
I. Engelbrecht
Directorate of Nature Conservation, Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Johannesburg,
2000 South Africa. E-mail: [email protected] / [email protected]
Research Associate, Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, 0002 South Africa
Inventories of invertebrate species are produced by a number of workers for protected areas
in South Africa. The value of these inventories for the protected area management process
was investigated using a questionnaire to protected area managers, and by examining a
sample of published inventories. The questionnaire results indicate that species inventories
are sought after, but that they are largely not used in the management process. Invertebrate
species inventories have the potential to be useful in several stages of the protected area
management process, but making inventories useful requires more than a list of species
names. To make inventories more useful they should include estimates of inventory
completeness or statistically rigorous estimates of relative species richness, information on
spatial distribution of species richness within a protected area, or their design should target
threatened and rare species or aim to identify potential indicator species. Protected area
managers and scientists producing inventories should collaborate to ensure that the
resultant information is most useful.
Key words: invertebrate conservation, protected area management, species lists, checklists.
Generating inventories of invertebrate species
occurring on protected areas is a common activity
undertaken by both citizen scientists and professional invertebrate biologists in South Africa. Inventories of species, often referred to as species
lists or checklists, are usually the end result of
opportunistic surveys targeting a chosen superspecific taxon. The inventory process serves a
wide range of purposes, including obtaining
specimens for taxonomic research, and providing
educational opportunities for students and the
general public. Importantly, they contribute to the
knowledge base of the biodiversity represented
within a protected area, and are seen as valuable
information by both protected area managers and
those generating inventories. Very often, the motivation for undertaking surveys on protected areas
is that the resultant information will be useful in
managing biodiversity in those protected areas.
Examples of uses of inventories in protected area
management are presented by Droege et al. (1998)
and Speight & Castella (2001). Droege et al. (1998)
showed how repeated inventories, such as bird
lists generated by bird watchers visiting a protected
area, may be used as a monitoring tool to determine
how species composition in the protected area
changes over time. If trends in species disappearance are detected, the cause of such disappearances
can then be investigated and corrective action
taken. Speight & Catella (2001) showed that by
linking regional inventories, data on species biology
and protected area inventories, information on
individual species biology may be linked and used
in the interpretation of protected area inventories.
If a species is known to occur in the region of the
protected area, but is not recorded for the protected
area itself and should occur there based on available
habitat, then appropriate management interventions can be implemented to restore the habitat to
a condition favourable for that species.
While these may appear as attractive uses of
inventories, it is important not to underestimate
the challenge of generating inventories of invertebrate species. Invertebrate communities often
have significantly greater numbers of species than
vertebrate animal assemblages, and sampling
them relatively comprehensively requires substantial effort (Coddington et al. 2009). Inventory
efforts are also often hampered by the difficulty in
identifying many invertebrate species, the lack of
easily available and user friendly identification
tools, and the limited availability of taxon experts
to assist in the identification process.
Given these challenges, the purpose of this
article is to explore the assumption that inventories of invertebrate species are needed for effective
African Entomology 18(2): 235–245 (2010)
African Entomology Vol. 18, No. 2, 2010
management of biodiversity in protected areas. It
presents the results of a questionnaire survey of
protected area managers and ecologists to determine how species inventories are used in practice.
It also investigates the prevalence of invertebrate
research on protected areas that only generates
inventories relative to other invertebrate research.
The management planning process is described
briefly and suggestions are provided for how the
inventory process may be extended to be more
beneficial to this process.
A questionnaire, comprising 10 short questions,
was developed to determine the perceived value
and use of inventories in South African protected
areas. The questions aimed to establish if an
ecological management plan was in place for the
protected area under consideration, whether
there were specific management objectives or
actions for invertebrates included in the plan,
whether inventories of invertebrate species exist
for the protected area, and whether these were
used in developing management objectives and
actions. It also requested information indicating
the purposes for which invertebrate species
inventories are otherwise used, and how such
inventories may be improved to make them more
useful in protected area management. Of the 10
questions, eight were closed type questions requiring specific, predefined answers. Place for comments was provided for some of these. The last
two questions were open ended and requested
suggestions on how inventories might be improved
for the biodiversity management process or any
other thoughts the responder had regarding
invertebrate inventories.
The questionnaire was circulated electronically,
with a covering letter explaining the purpose of
the study and stating that individual responses
would be kept confidential. These were sent to
the relevant management staff in conservation
agencies responsible for protected areas in each of
the nine provinces, as well as SANParks, which is
responsible for national protected areas. They
were then distributed by these managers to
protected area managers and regional ecologists
reporting to them. Responses were voluntary, and
provided directly to the author. The responses to
the open ended questions and the comments
provided with closed questions were categorized
and the number of respondents making a particular
suggestion were scored.
To determine the prevalence of research generating basic species inventories relative to other
invertebrate research, three South African scientific journals, African Entomology, African Invertebrates and Koedoe, were searched for articles on
invertebrates in protected areas. The former two
are general entomological journals, while Koedoe
includes articles on a range of research topics on
protected areas in South Africa and neighbouring
countries, and is published by South African
National Parks. The key words ‘reserve’, ‘park’,
‘protected area’ and ‘conservation’ were used to
locate relevant articles in African Entomology and
African Invertebrates, while the complete contents
of Koedoe were searched manually. The search was
conducted for the years 2000 to 2009, inclusive.
The resulting articles were classified as inventories,
research other than just inventories, or a combination of both. If a list of species was the focus of the
article then the article qualified as an inventory.
Thirty one responses to the questionnaire were
received. The results of these are presented in
Table 1.
The results of the literature search for research
on invertebrates in protected areas were as follows.
Sixteen articles were located in the three journals
searched. Nine (56 %) of these were classified as
inventories only (Dippenaar-Schoeman et al. 2009;
Haddad & Dippenaar-Schoeman 2009; Dippenaar
et al. 2008; Haddad et al. 2006; DippenaarSchoeman 2006; Dippenaar-Schoeman et al. 2005;
Haddad 2003; Dippenaar-Schoeman & Leroy
2003; Foord et al. 2002), one (Wesolowska &
Haddad 2009) included an inventory as well as
other research, in this case systematics of the
taxon. Six comprised other kinds of research. Of
the latter, Davis et al. (2005) examined representation and habitat requirements of dung beetles in
protected areas in Gauteng province, DippenaarSchoeman & González-Reyes (2006) indicated
representation of solifuge species in South African
protected areas, Esterhuizen (2006) discussed
seasonal abundance of horse flies in two KwaZulu-Natal Nature Reserves, and de Kock &
Wolmarans (2008), Wolmarans & de Kock (2006)
and de Kock et al. (2002) examined the spread of
alien aquatic molluscs, the impacts of extreme
Engelbrecht: Invertebrate species inventories
Table 1. Questions and response results for questionnaire circulated to protected area managers and regional
Are you a Reserve Manager, Regional
Ecologist or other responsibility?
Reserve Manager: 61 %
Regional Ecologist: 39 %
Does your protected area have an Ecological
Management Plan as per the Protected Areas Act?
Yes: 61 %
No: 16 %
In preparation: 23 %
Are invertebrates specifically considered in any of
the biodiversity management objectives in the
Ecological Management Plan, or in any other
management planning documentation for your
protected area? Please provide details
Yes: 42 %
No: 58 %
Do you have any inventories (i.e. species lists) for
any invertebrate groups (e.g. beetles, butterflies, ,
spiders, earthworms, etc.)
Yes: 58 %
No: 42 %
Do you feel that these inventories are an accurate
representation of the species that occur in your
protected area? Elaborate if necessary
Yes: 17 %
No: 39 %
Unsure: 44 %
(Only scored for those who answered
yes to previous question)
Would you like to have inventories of more
invertebrate groups for your protected area?
Elaborate if necessary
Yes: 97 %
Only one respondent indicated that
he/she didn't wantinventories for the
protected area)
Have you used these species lists in any way in
developing your Ecological Management Plan or
other management documentation for your
protected area, or do you use these species lists in
planning or implementation of your biodiversity
management actions on your protected area?
If yes, please provide details
(Of the 18 respondents who answered
Yes to question 4, 15 responded to this
Yes:13 %
No: 87 %
One example was provided stating that
management actions had been formulated
for a threatened species found on the
protected area
Do you use these species lists for any other
purposes on your protected area (eg. providing
information to tourists)? If yes, please elaborate.
(20 respondents answered this question)
Yes: 55 %
No: 45 %
Provided to tourists: 20 %
Available on website: 25 %
Provided to researchers: 10 %
Use as educational material: 5 %
Suggestions for improvement of inventories and
comments on inventories in general
Stated indicators of ecosystem health or
change would be useful: 26 %
Examples included: Undertake baseline
surveys, do projects on priority species,
conservation of invertebrate species in
general, monitoring of threatened species
and biocontrol agents, control of locust
Conservation status and management
recommendations for rare/threatened
species should be included: 19 %
Inventories should be more complete:
13 %
Habitat requirements of species should be
indicated: 6 %
All of the following suggestions were made
by single respondents (3 %)
Data on spatial occurrence and abundance
should be included.
Lists should include references to voucher
Alien species should be indicated.
Impacts of fire and herbivore management
on invertebrate diversity should be researched
African Entomology Vol. 18, No. 2, 2010
climatic events on molluscs, and the status of
molluscs in the Kruger National Park, respectively. Eight of the articles classified as inventories
were published in Koedoe and all of these were produced as outputs from the South African National
Survey of Arachnida (SANSA).
In searching the articles classified as inventories
for statements of their value for protected area
management, several were found to reflect the
perception that effective management of biodiversity on protected areas requires a near complete
knowledge of the invertebrate species present
(Dippenaar-Schoeman et al. 2009; DippenaarSchoeman et al. 2005; Dippenaar-Schoeman &
Leroy 2003; Foord et al. 2002). One described inventories as a conservation planning tool and
stated that the lack of such information is an
impediment to effective conservation planning
(Haddad & Dippenaar-Schoeman 2009). This
article also discussed the value of inventories as
baseline information for monitoring of impacts of
climate change, alien species and habitat transformation. Wesolowska & Haddad (2009) indicated
that invertebrates should be considered in the
management plan for a protected area where
species richness of the taxon studied was high, but
did not provide specific recommendations on
what this would require.
The key findings of the questionnaire survey
with respect to the value of invertebrate inventories are as follows. While most protected area staff
would like inventories for their protected area,
these are seldom used in formulating management objectives or actions. They are used more
often as baseline information on the protected
area, indicating the species present, and are
made available to the general public and visiting
researchers. Importantly, most respondents felt
that inventories were incomplete or were unsure
as to their completeness. The predominant suggestions for improvement of the inventory process
were to identify indicators of environmental
change or ecosystem condition, and to identify
species of conservation concern. Of the published
research examined, approximately half consists of
inventories only, with SANSA the primary producer
of these inventory publications. These publications
stated that inventories are important for conservation in protected areas and that invertebrates
should be considered in protected area management, that inventories are a conservation planning
tool and that they provide baseline information
for monitoring.
Protected area management planning involves a
progressive, iterative process, illustrated in Fig. 1.
The stages of this process are information gathering, using the information gathered in formulating a vision and objectives for the protected area,
identification of actions that will lead to achievement of those objectives, implementation of those
actions, monitoring of the results of the actions for
effectiveness, and changes to management actions
if they are found to be ineffective (Thomas &
Middelton 2003). Management planning does not
stop with the production of a plan, but includes
implementation of management actions, evaluation of their effectiveness and changing them
where necessary. This approach is required in the
management of complex, dynamic systems where
the outcomes of management actions are not always
certain, and is termed adaptive management
(Holling 1978; Johnson 1999).
The setting of objectives is a key step in this
process. Objectives simultaneously need to reflect
the purpose of the protected area and provide the
standard for assessment of management effectiveness. Objectives need to specifically state desired
outcomes, and those outcomes must be achievable, realistic and measurable. Objectives are
usually set for biodiversity management, tourism
and income generation, infrastructure development, education and training, and organizational
capacity, amongst others. Biodiversity management
objectives usually consist of statements of intention to maintain levels of biodiversity, populations
of rare and threatened species, or the management
of threats to biodiversity such as alien species or
Inventories might provide information that
would be useful during four of the stages in the
management process. First, they may provide
information on the value of the protected area for
biodiversity conservation. This may be in the form
of an indication of absolute species richness within
the protected area, richness relative to other protected areas, the number of species occurring in
the region that are represented in the protected
area, or the relative contribution of the protected
area to a regional protected area network in
representing the species occurring in the region. If
inventories indicate high value in any of these
Engelbrecht: Invertebrate species inventories
Fig. 1. The protected area management planning process indicating stages where invertebrate species inventories
may be useful. Derived from Thomas & Middleton (2003).
aspects, that information can be used to motivate
for continued existence of the protected area and
allocation of the necessary funds and resources to
implement the management actions. Second, if
the inventory process generates information on
spatial patterns of species richness within a
protected area, that information can be used in
zoning the protected area for different uses and
for infrastructure development planning. Uses
that potentially impact on biodiversity, such as
infrastructure developments or high tourist
density areas, can be located in areas of lower
species richness. De Mas et al. (2009) provide an
example of how species richness of spiders was
mapped for a protected area in Spain for this
purpose. Third, information from inventories may
be used in determining specific management
actions. In particular, if rare or threatened species
are located during the inventory process specific
management actions can be formulated to maintain or improve habitats for those species, or to
increase population sizes. Another example was
provided by one of the questionnaire respondents,
where a specific burning regime is implemented
to maintain the habitat of a threatened butterfly
species on the protected area. Lastly, inventories
may provide information on the presence of
species which may be used as indicators of
management effectiveness which would be used
at the stage of evaluating and refining management actions. Monitoring projects for evaluating
management effectiveness are identified concurrently with the identification of management
actions, and then implemented concurrently with
or following the implementation of management
actions. Haddad et al. (2009) provide an example
where a spider species is determined to be an indicator of changes in forest structure due to elephant
The fact that the questionnaire respondents
indicated that inventories are largely not used for
these purposes would indicate that the information required to make inventories useful is not
presented in the results of inventory projects, or
African Entomology Vol. 18, No. 2, 2010
that it is presented in a form that does not facilitate
its use. These problems are addressed under the
headings that follow, with suggestions on how the
inventory process may be extended, sometimes very
simply, to produce information that is relevant for
Completeness of inventories
In using inventories to justify the value of
protected areas, completeness of the inventory is a
key consideration. Protected area staff indicated
uncertainty in the level of completeness of the
inventories they have available. Invertebrate
communities often have many more species than
communities of vertebrates and plants and
producing relatively complete inventories can be
challenging. Coddington et al. (2009) reviewed a
number of inventories of tropical arthropod
communities and found that the proportion of
singleton species averaged 32 %, indicating that
most invertebrate communities are substantially
undersampled. It is also characteristic of invertebrate community surveys to continue accumulating species with additional sampling effort, even
after substantial sampling effort has been invested
(see for example Novotn & Basset 2000). Species
richness estimation methods provide an indication
of the degree of completeness of an inventory by
extrapolating a curve of species accumulation
relative to sample or specimen accumulation to an
asymptote representing the likely number of
species present (Gotelli & Colwell 2001; Thompson et al. 2003; Chao 2005). The number of species
observed relative to the estimate of total species
present provides an indication of completeness of
the inventory, as well as potential species richness
for the area.
In comparing species richness between sampled
areas it is also important to produce standardized
estimates of richness relative to sampling effort
(Gotelli & Colwell 2001). Failing to do so can lead to
tenuous conclusions about relative species richness,
and hence the relative value of protected areas in
conserving species. An example of such a comparison is presented in Dippenaar et al. (2008). They
found 275 spider species in the protected area they
surveyed and stated that this was comparable
with the 268 species found in another protected
area within the same biome, without comparing
species accumulation curves. The sample for the
first protected area included 13 821 specimens
while the sample from the second comprised 4832
specimens. Unless the species accumulation curve
for the larger sample had reached an asymptote
relatively early (which is unlikely for an invertebrate community), this would indicate a potentially greater species richness in the second
protected area. Methods are also available for
evaluating the similarity in species composition
between different areas that consider missed
species (Chao et al. 2005). These measures can be
used to provide an indication of relative importance of individual protected areas in representing
a regional fauna.
Species richness estimation methods may be
applied to specific areas or habitats within a
protected area in much the same way as they are
applied to a protected area as a whole. De Mas et al.
(2008) provide an example where spider species
richness was correlated with environmental variables within a protected area, producing a species
richness map for the total extent of the protected
area. This is a good demonstration of how the
inventory process can lead to valuable information for protected area management by using
species richness estimation and predictive modelling methods.
Species richness estimation methods are freely
available with software packages such as EstimateS (Colwell 2009) and richness estimates
should be a minimum requirement of invertebrate
inventories on protected areas. Not only will these
give protected area staff a better indication of the
level of completeness of inventories, but it would
also allow for consideration of any uncertainty in
applying the results of inventories in the management process.
Inventories in identifying indicators and
threatened species
Several respondents indicated the need for
information on indicators of environmental
change and the presence of rare or threatened
species on protected areas, and that the inventory
process should aim to provide this information.
This information is used in the management
process by identifying management actions that
benefit such species. However, generating such
information is seldom the primary objective of
inventory projects. This is problematic because
both indicator identification and rare and threatened species detection require different approaches
to those used for undertaking a basic inventory.
Developing indicators is arguably the more diffi-
Engelbrecht: Invertebrate species inventories
cult of these two activities. Indicator identification
projects first require a specification of what it is
that should be indicated. Some factors that might
be of interest include changes in vegetation structure, the ratio of covered to bare ground or
changes in species composition of plant or animal
communities. These factors are usually related to
management actions, such as burning regimes.
The specific factors of interest would be identified
during the information gathering and objectives
setting stages of the management planning process for a particular protected area, and will vary
from one protected area to another depending on
the context and objectives of each. If the presence
or absence of a particular species is strongly correlated with a factor of interest, this species is then an
indicator of the factor. Identifying such correlative
relationships is not trivial though. It requires that
the sampling strategy be designed specifically to
sample along gradients of the factor of interest and
measures species responses to those gradients
(Carignan & Villard 2002; Duelli & Obrist 2003).
Inventory projects are often not designed in this
Determining the presence of rare or threatened
species can also represent a challenge for the
inventory process. Such species tend to be the
most difficult to locate in a survey area due to their
low abundance, specialized habitat requirements,
localized distribution or cryptic behavior. General
inventory projects may fail to locate these species
for such reasons, and when they are located, it is
often by chance. Detection of rare and threatened
species would be more effective when those
species are targeted using appropriate sampling
methods (Thompson 2004; Guisan et al. 2006;
Martikainen & Kouki 2003). Targeting specific
species during a survey is also more efficient as
resources are not expended on collecting, sorting
and identifying more common species. Such
surveys should provide information on the spatial
distribution of any rare or threatened species
within the protected area so that this information
may be considered in developing management
actions for these species.
Sampling rare and threatened species also
requires a prior knowledge of which species are
rare and threatened. In South Africa, assessments
of threat status have been conducted for dragonflies and damselflies (Odonata), butterflies, the
stag beetle genus Colophon Gray 1832, millipedes
of the genus Doratogonus Attems 1914, some crus-
taceans such as river crabs and fairy shrimps,
velvet worms (Onychophora), and some snails
and slugs (IUCN 2009). Protected area managers
should not expect an indication of species rarity or
threat from inventories of invertebrate taxa where
such assessments have not yet been conducted,
and should be cautious if they are provided. This is
because inferences of rarity and threat are often
based on the prevalence of specimens in collections, or the personal experience of the collector,
which may be subjective or biased. The discovery
of new species during invertebrate inventory
projects should be also treated as the norm and is a
reflection of the status of the taxonomy of the
invertebrate taxon as a whole rather than the
biodiversity value of the protected area (Redak
Inventories in conservation planning and as
baseline information for monitoring
Haddad & Dippenaar-Schoeman (2009) discussed
the value of inventories as a conservation planning tool and as baseline information for future
research or monitoring. The authors’ statement of
the value of the inventory produced as a conservation planning tool is also somewhat vague as they
don’t indicate what they meant by the term ‘conservation planning tool’. They may have been
referring to the use of the inventory in the management planning process described above, as a
systematic conservation planning tool, or in
another activity that could fall under the broad
concept of conservation planning. Protected area
management planning and systematic conservation
planning are both clearly defined processes with
specific information requirements. Systematic
conservation planning (Margules & Pressey 2000;
Pressey 2004) is the process of identifying areas
required to meet a set of predefined spatial representation targets for threatened species, ecosystems
and other biodiversity features. The results are
used for protected area expansion and biodiversity
stewardship programmes and in infrastructural
and housing development planning. The information required for systematic conservation
planning is spatially explicit data on the distribution of species richness, compositional similarity,
rare and threatened species and spatial surrogates
for ecological processes. It is not apparent how a
single inventory is useful to this process from the
discussion presented by the authors.
Using inventories as baseline information for
African Entomology Vol. 18, No. 2, 2010
future research and monitoring also requires some
careful consideration, and depends on what is
meant by the term baseline. Inventories can be
useful in assisting in the process of specimen identification in future projects when the relevant
taxonomic literature is fragmentary and well
developed identification tools are not available.
Here, inventories can be used in conjunction with
a species catalogue to locate relevant literature
containing species descriptions. In this case users
must be cautious of misidentifications that may
arise from using inventories in this way. Misidentifications may occur when the person identifying
a specimen assumes it is a species recorded in the
inventory when he or she is uncertain of the true
identity. If incorrect or outdated identifications
are present in the inventory these can be propagated to newly collected specimens in much the
same manner. The ideal situation for invertebrate
research is to have a well resolved taxonomy and
easily accessible, user friendly identification tools
for the taxon under consideration. Identifications
are then done using these tools, and prior inventories are not necessary.
Using inventories as a baseline for monitoring
can also be challenging, particularly for invertebrates where inventories often miss large numbers
of species. Monitoring involves the detection of
trends of interest to protected area managers, such
as changes in species composition, and relating
those to management actions or other factors,
such as climatic conditions. Such trends need to be
reported with an indication of statistical significance, which requires a sampling strategy with
appropriate replication and sample size (Nielsen
et al. 2009). This sampling strategy must be developed prior to and applied in the initial baseline
inventory if it is to be useful in monitoring
When describing the value of inventories,
authors should be specific in relating the information in the inventory to these, or other conservation related activities and the information should
be presented in an appropriate format for future
use in such activities. By specifically describing
how an inventory may be used protected area
managers are more likely to make use of the results
of the inventory in their management activities.
Inventory publication and SANSA inventories
An interesting result of the literature survey is
the prevalence of inventory publications stemming
from the SANSA project. An examination of the
publications list for the SANSA project, available
on the project website (ARC 2010) indicates that
inventory publication is a primary objective of this
project with inventories produced for a range of
agro-ecosystems and natural areas as well as
protected areas. The project has also made a substantial contribution to the systematics of the
southern African arachnid fauna, and provides a
platform for communication and collaboration
amongst arachnologists working in the region
(Dippenaar-Schoeman & Creamer 2000). The
SANSA approach could be used as a model for
coordinating inventories and taxonomic research
at a national scale for other invertebrate taxa, but
cost and feasibility of such projects must always
be considered. The value of the individual inventories generated for protected areas by SANSA can
be improved by following the suggestions presented in this article.
While SANSA was the primary source of publications in the literature examined, the questionnaire results indicate a relatively high prevalence
of inventories for the protected areas surveyed,
and the author is aware of several that exist for the
protected areas in Gauteng Province. This would
indicate that many invertebrate species inventories for protected areas are not published. While
publication does ensure public availability of
inventory results, it does have shortcomings.
Scientific publications may become quickly outdated as a result of subsequent survey projects
where additional species are discovered or due to
taxonomic name changes. Publishing inventories
can also be difficult as editors aim to increase readership and citations of their journals by selecting
those articles most likely to be read and cited (see
Primack 2009). The results of inventory projects
are more appropriately made available through
specimen or observation databases. Such databases can represent a near real time picture of
species inventory results using current taxonomy,
and can represent much richer information than
that which is commonly presented in species lists,
such as qualifiers of identification certainty or
georeference accuracy (Chapman 2005). Information can also be extracted from databases in the
format most appropriate for the intended use with
custom designed queries, and common analysis
can be automated within database systems. Databases from different collections are easily integrated
using freely available tools to provide a compre-
Engelbrecht: Invertebrate species inventories
hensive dataset of species distribution records,
which makes these records useful for a number of
purposes not possible with single inventories
(Edwards et al. 2000; Graham et al. 2004; Soberón &
Peterson 2004). Those undertaking inventory
projects should ensure that the data collected are
included in such online resources so that they are
easily available and to ensure that maximum value
may be derived from them.
Inventories of invertebrate species have the
potential to contribute to the management planning process for protected areas, but this requires
the presentation of more than a list of species
names. They may contribute to the initial information gathering process as an indication of the value
of the area for biodiversity protection or its relative
importance in a protected area network. This
requires standardized measures of species richness that compensate for incomplete sampling of
species assemblages. By extending this approach
within the protected area species richness maps
may be produced which can be used in zoning the
protected area for different uses or development
planning. Inventories may also provide information on the presence of rare or threatened species.
Management actions that aim to ensure the persistence of populations of these species can then be
developed. An indication of the spatial distribution of such species should be presented in the
results of the survey. Importantly, the objective of
sampling rare and threatened species is only valid
where rarity and threat status have been formally
assessed for the taxon to be sampled. The identification of indicators of environmental condition or
management action effectiveness can also be done
by extension of the basic inventory process, but this
requires a carefully designed sampling strategy
that targets gradients of the factors of interest.
Both scientists and protected area managers
have the responsibility to make sure that research
on protected areas is beneficial to the management
of the protected area. For protected area managers
this means communicating management objectives and actions, as well as research questions, to
researchers. They should also specify the format
for information that will be provided by researchers that will be of most use to them. Researchers
should also take the initiative to engage with
protected area managers in those areas where
they wish to work in order to find out how their
research may be used in the management process.
They should obtain and read management plan
documents to better understand the objectives,
management actions, and information requirements in preparation for their surveys. By fostering collaborative relationships and ensuring that
inventory type research contributes to the management of protected areas, both protected area
managers and researchers will benefit in the long
I would like to thank the managers in various
conservation agencies for distributing the questionnaire and all respondents who took the time to
contribute; P. Duigan, D. Koen, G. Masterson,
M. Correia and three anonymous referees who
provided suggestions for improvements to the
manuscript, and A. Mathie for proofreading the
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Accepted 27 May 2010
Fly UP